Why do we need a server in addition to workstations?
When working with clients of all sizes, it’s important to stress that most companies should leverage a server to improve the security of their data and enhance reliability. For small companies, simply adding on workstations can suffice for a time, but file sharing and data privacy become paramount as a company grows. If your customers are working with a team of more than five employees, they need to know that a server is a must. This differentiation is key to ensuring that your clients understand the infrastructure required to meet their needs.
Unlike a desktop computer, a server is built with the power to manage, store, send, and process data 24 hours a day, even if a hardware failure occurs. In the event a server loses support from one power supply, its secondary source will still run to ensure that no data is lost and employees don’t miss a beat. Because servers also rely on RAID storage systems, data loss is less common. Businesses that are still relying solely on workstations would benefit from understanding how relying on a single hard drive makes them much more vulnerable to data loss.
Another benefit of servers you can highlight for your clients is the facilitation of data protection. Without a server, a data backup would require transferring files from each individual workstation. With all sensitive files living within a single server, performing a data backup is much more streamlined. File servers also provide nightly backup to prevent document loss in the event of a crash.
Finally, file servers offer extensive network security through their ability to assign individual and group user rights. These assigned user rights create an environment in which only specific employees have access to sensitive data. This isn’t about employers not trusting their teams, it’s about avoiding user error and limiting the number of access points for cyberattackers. Servers also streamline the process of installing and updating antivirus software across multiple devices, which is a must for teams of any size.
Can I use a workstation as a server?
Because workstations and servers have some similarities, many clients may wonder if a workstation can be developed into a server. Technically speaking, the answer is yes. Any workstation that fulfills the minimum hardware requirements to run a server can do so—but that doesn’t mean it should. From the start of its lifecycle, a true server is engineered with the end goal of providing exemplary, 24-hour data processing, high storage capacity, and above all, reliable network management.
Workstation computers are not manufactured with these goals in mind and therefore aren’t as reliable when developed into servers. Whether working with a 10-person company or a global corporation, MSPs should advise customers to leverage a true server versus trying to create their own from a workstation.
When determining which server hardware to use, companies must evaluate their current and future memory and storage needs, as well as identify the primary function of their server. Will it be used to store files or function as an application server? These needs will dictate the operating system a company chooses to implement. Empower your customers to identify their needs and equip themselves with a server that boosts reliability and enhances security.
Taking file backup to the next level
After illustrating the differences between servers and workstations to the businesses you work with, the next natural step is to advise them to also invest in additional backup software. While servers offer better data security than workstations, having backup software is still critical in the event of unexpected cyberattacks or user error. Clients should understand that backup software is a crucial safety net, especially for companies with high stakes around data loss.
With a cloud-based backup storage tool like SolarWinds Backup, clients can select the server and workstation data they need to protect and manage everything from a single, comprehensive dashboard. To retrieve lost data, SolarWinds Backup relies on a variety of recovery methods, including bare store recovery, continuous recovery, and virtual-to-virtual recovery. If there’s a way to get your data back, these features will make it happen.
A single, cloud-based backup software also facilitates data transfers at a rapid rate and reduces the headaches associated with managing multiple backup solutions for servers and workstations. With the right backup software, MSPs and their customers can spend less time monitoring and more time focusing on what matters most—their business.
Are your client’s servers and workstations securely backed up? Find out how SolarWinds Backup can help businesses ensure they're prepared for data disasters.